Hindu Vivek Kendra
«« Back
The new terror in Bangladesh: tortured Hindus flee to India

The new terror in Bangladesh: tortured Hindus flee to India

Author: M V Kamath
Publication: The Free Press Journal
Date: November 15, 2001

First it began in Pakistan. Even before partition formally took place, several million Hindus and Sikhs left territory that had been formally marked out as Pakistan for safety in India. How many millions were killed, injured and mutilated has never been accurately accounted. Numberless women were raped or converted into Islam. Today there are hardly any Hindus in Pakistan. Those who preferred to stay on are mostly from the Scheduled Castes; a few families may have continued to live to take care of family assets but they are few and far between.

When the fundamentalists took charge of the Vale of Kashmir the same story was repeated ad nauseam. Several lakh Pundits wear forced to leave their homes behind and either settle down in miserable shacks in Jammu or leave the state for securer places in other parts of India. No attention is given to them. The displacement of Hindu from Muslim-majority areas is presumed to be inevitable and par for the course. Hindus are not allowed to stay on in Muslim majority areas to worship their gods and live in peace with their neigbhours. When the British Cabinet Mission came to India in March 1946 as far as possible to save the unity of India, it was faced with Opposition from that Devil Incarnate, Mohammad Ali Jinnahbhai. The Mission asked Jinnah: "Do you realise that the Pakistan you are demanding will leave substantial Hindus under Muslim domination?" Jinnah replied: "that will be so, but, I will leave many more Muslims under Hindu domination in Hindustan". Surprised, the Mission asked Jinnah: "Then how does it resolve Hindu-Muslim discord? It will only perpetuate hostilities". Jinnah persisted in his muddled thinking. He said: "I will free at least two-thirds Muslims from Hindu domination". The Mission told him: "And you will put more than that number of Hindus under Muslim domination. That is no solution".

Jinnah replied that "their best protection will be the establishment of two strong state$, neither of which will dare misbehave towards each other's minorities". The Mission asked: "You mean to say that these minorities will be hostages?" To that Jinnah said: "Exactly, If one state mistreats its minorities the other state will retaliate against its minorities. It will be tit for tat. Fear is the most potent weapon; I am sure the ruler in either state will be wise enough to conduct themselves properly.

They will be' afraid of retaliation against their co-religionists". This never happened. True, immediately after and just prior to partition there were massacres on both sides. But when the Pundits were driven out of Kashmir, there has been no retaliation against Muslims in other parts of India. And now something more terrible is happening. Hindus in their thousands are being pushed out of Bangla Desh and there is not a word of protest - let alone retaliation - against Muslims in India. The Bangaladeshis may be barbaric. Indeed they are, but Hindus in India are more civilised. But how long has India to suffer from religious terrorism and exclusivism in Bangladesh?

Trouble started soon after Khaleda Zia of Bangaladesh Natioinalist Party came into power. The BNP scored a landslide victory in the recently concluded elections, capturing 182 seats on its own and 201 seats along with its fundamentalist Muslim allies like the Jamaat-i-Islami. Once nominations are made for the 30 reserved women's seats, which is the prerogative of the winning party, the BNP-Jammat-Islam Oikiya Jote coalition will command two-thirds majority in the Bangladesh Parliament and then God save the Hindus. It is suggested by the Kolkata-based The Statesman (26 October) that Begum Zia's landlside victory 'is not an honest reflection of the popular will as various forms of electoral and administrative manipulations and fraud were resorted to in at least 50 seats". But that is no consolation. In any event while the Awami League's share of votes steadily rose from 33.67 per cent in 1991 to 37.44 per cent in 1996 to 40.02 in 2001, what is not stated is that this percentage included the solid Hindu and other minority vote bank. The Awami League made some mistakes too. It decided to fight the elections alone. It disgraced and severed links with some of its allies like Kader Siddiqi. It also made no attempt to woo the Leftists. The result is that while the Awami League garnered as much as 40.02 per cent of the votes, the BNP which on its own got only 37 per cent managed, with its fundamentalists allies to get 46.52 per cent-of the votes. That sounded the death knell of the Begum Hasina brand of liberalism and secularism. Today it is not the founder of Bangladesh Mujibhur Rehman who is remembered and adored, but Osama bin Laden. The Mukti juddho is forgotten; so are the Awami League's Mukti joddahs (freedom fighters). A Muslim backlash has taken place in Bangladesh. Maulana Fazlul Haq Amini, founder of Razakars who had lost his deposit in 1996, this time defeated his Awami League rival by 44,000 votes! And other despicable victor was the Jamaat candidate Matiur Rahman Nizami who was chief of the Pakistan Army-sponsored killer squad Al Badr! The refrain of the BNP-led coalition was "Muslims must vote it to power as Sheikh Hasina of the Awami Lagueis an agent of Hindustan and can't support Osama' bin Laden and our Islamic cause". The result is there for all to see.

According to The Statesman "several thousand persecuted Bangladeshi Hindus, Santhal adivasis, Buddhist and Christians have sought refuge in West Bengal and Tripura in recent weeks". Said the paper editorially (2 November): "New Delhi's concern is not misplaced since for over a decade Tripura was home to about 60,000 Bangladesh chakma refugees ... the extent of persecution which includes loot, arson and even rape, has rendered lakhs homeless". Lakhs, let it be remembered, Not hundreds or even thousands.

The Indian Prime Minister's National Security Adviser, Brijesh Mishra called on Begum Khaleda Zia on 27 October and was promised that' protection would be given to the Hindu and other minorities. No one believes her. According to The Statesman (26 October) Begum Zia "allowed the entry of staunch Islamists into her party who besides being known for their pro-Pakistan leaning, were committed to bury the liberation war and secularism for good'. The nature of Begum Zia's surrender to the fundamentalists can be gauged from the fact that she surrendered 37 BNP seats to them, including one from where her sitting party MP had been elected in four successive elections". That is Begum Zia. Within minutes of taking charge of the government the BNP-led coalition replaced 13 Secretaries of different Ministries and transferred 1,500 officials, including District Magistrates, Superintendents of Police and officers in charge of thanas. Those who replaced them were mostly BNP and Jamaat men who have made no secret of their political affiliations. The result is a massive attack on Hindus. According to The Hindu (5 November), "scores of men and women have left their homes in Bangladesh and bundled up their belongings, to sneak into the border districts of Malda, Uttar Dinajpur and Dakshshin Dinajpur of West Bengal". On 6 November The Times of India quoted a refugee as saying: "The situation (in Bangladesh) is frightening. In some of the areas of Bangladesh where the Hindus are a minority and poor, the oppression is maximum. If you pay them (the fundamentalists) you can buy peace. But if you do not, then conversion of one's religion is the only way out". The Kolkata-based The Telegraph (1 November) reported that "the nightmare actually began on 13 October when two college-going girls of Balapukar were picked up, raped and left to die ... Exactly a week later Kashidanga (a village of 20 Hindus families) erupted in flames. The twenty Hindu families' homes were looted and three women sought to be abducted". That is Begum Khalida Zia's Bangladesh. Reports Kuldip Nayar in The Hitavada (24 October): "Khaleda played the religious card ... Her equivocal stand on the Taliban too paid her dividends in the election. But her poll alliance with the Jamaat-I-Islami made it clear that she wanted to look more Islamic than her opponents in a country which is predominantly Muslim. She may change the constitution to facilitate the introduction of Islamic shariat as the basis for legislation".

Some of our leftist intellectuals have already begun to make excuses for Begum Khaleda saying that the BNP is not basically anti-Indian that as one writer, Udayan Namboodiri, writing in The Hindustan Times put it, "the economic backwardness of Bangladesh is as much a security threat to India as is the flourishing jehad factory in Pakistan." What is "basically friendly?" Is killing, looting setting fires to Hindu homes and raping their womenfolk a sign of "basic friendliness"? The Free Press Journal quoted a refugee as saving: "The ruling party (BNP) cadres have formed 'assault groups' who intrude into residences" minorities in the late hours, torture women, loot valuable and slash tongues of the livestock". Another refugee has' been quoted as saying: "Hindus are not allowed to withdraw money from banks or sell property. You need permission front a BNP Minister to sell your land. Any Muslim who buys a Hindu's land is punished. Hindus have to compulsorily take part in rallies brought out in support of Osama bin Laden." It may suit our government to turn a blind eye to all this. But some day this misty explode in its face. It is warned.

Back                          Top

«« Back
  Search Articles
  Special Annoucements